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The reality of medication: my journal entries

Mar. 30, 2018
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Medication is a serious thing to consider. I have depression, anxiety, OCD, and a sensory disorder that all have caused me to have a certain mindset in regards to how I view and interact with the world around me. In my family, medication is something that was always looked down upon because of my mother’s past experiences with it and how it actually made her depression worse. Because of this, I didn’t know enough about medication to even really consider it while I was struggling with my mental state. As a result, I tried to deal with it myself for the first 5 years with only a few counseling sessions. It finally came to the point that I decided I wanted to try and get better a different way. It took some time for my mother to come around, but eventually it happened, and I’ve been on medication for about five months now. 

Since I didn’t really know anything about medication while I was trying to figure out what path to take when addressing my mental illnesses, I decided I would like to help those in similar situations—those who are unable to get information about the reality of taking medication. I will be showing you the raw, honest thoughts that were going through my head before, during, and after being on medication through my diary entries. 

Before Medication:

This is before I started taking medication. I was in a very dark place; when I think back to it, there aren’t very clear memories because I was in such a hazy state of mind. I wrote this at 1 AM when I couldn’t sleep and was just staring up at the ceiling of my room with my thoughts overflowing in my mind. 

“Sometimes, I think I’m too different (and too good at hiding it). My mother says she’s never met someone who described things like me, and surely, there must be reason for that. My problem is that I’m “too” everything, which results in me being… nothing at all. Too smart, too dumb, too clever, too lazy, too pessimistic, too hopeful, too sure, too doubtful, too submissive, too dominant, too fake, too real, too insecure, too full of myself, too selfless, too selfish, too everything. They say black, despite being completely dark and blank, is the combination of all the colors. I think that’s why I love it so much. There’s something familiar about it, and that comforts me; it’s relatable. The idea that “nothing” is just the entirety of everything is a complicated concept, but I believe I’m living proof. When I think of myself, all I see is the blackness of “too much.” Inside of me, there’s a combination of everything, which eventually becomes nothing at all because it’s too much to handle—and maybe it’s not meant to be handled. I think that’s why I’m sad all the time. Would it be cliche to say I’m too much for this world to handle? I feel like there are too many sides to me for me to ever be satisfied with one lifestyle. A passion for too many ways of living has caused me to not want any of them at all. Maybe there are multiple souls within my body, and past passions from other lives have caused me to be this way. Whatever the reason, I feel that I’m too alive for the real world to even compare. Until I can find something that makes me feel alive in this world, I’m stuck lying on my bed, in the darkness of the night, wondering when living will be worth more than a heartbeat.”

During Medication:

Something very important about this next entry is that, though it shows progress in my way of thinking, there is still a clear internal struggle happening. Many people expect that when they first start medication, they will immediately start to feel better and the darkness they’ve been experiencing will go away and the sun will shine brightly in its place—but that’s not at all true. It took a month for my medication to start having clear effects, and even then, it’s hard. If you stick with it, you will eventually see a positive change in yourself, but the medicine itself won’t make you happy. You have to try and find the happiness in your life instead of in a pill bottle. This entry is after about three months on medication. 

“I meant to write yesterday, but there was a bit of drama. I got in an argument with my father. Besides that, I’m okay (all things considered). I was in the car with my mother earlier, and it was the perfect type of weather: raining lightly and cloudy, with just enough sunshine for you to roll the windows down and feel the rush of the wind and fall in love with the roaring white noise. I was feeling rather thoughtful, and I began to realize what I imagined true happiness would feel like: laying at the bottom of a pool while watching children splash at the top of the water. I can’t really explain why that scene is what the epitome of happiness is to me, but I think it has to do with the silence. It’s almost the exact opposite of what we’re taught to believe as humans (that such activeness could have such a precious silence attached to it). It’s surreal in a way. 

I’ve been more social lately and my grades have been very good, though Mandarin is still a struggle. I feel like I could do well if I tried harder, but it’s very difficult since I’m always focusing on my other classes, which seem more immediate and important to me in all honesty. I should probably clean my room, but I can’t seem to get myself to do it. The mess comforts me. The cleaner my room is and the more put together things are, the less honest and real it all seems. My room is the one place I can be completely honest with myself and (physically) acknowledge the chaos that’s going on in my mind. I’m a mess. So anyway, I don’t think I’ll be able to clean my room for a while.”

Off Medication (A Breakdown):

This wasn’t too long ago. I had gotten in a really big argument and it caused me to lose hope in everything, and I stopped taking my medication on a whim. This is a very unhealthy decision, and if you do go on medication and want to stop it, make sure you wait until you can get in contact with your doctor and come to an agreement on how to proceed with your treatment. I had slight withdrawal symptoms which resulted in me breaking down crying at times. Though you can’t realize it from the outside, the pills are having an impact on chemicals released in your body; suddenly stopping that can have negative effects. What I experienced during this time (about a month after the previous entry) in regards to suddenly stopping the medication as well as personal problems I was going through caused me to be more daring in my thoughts in a very bad way. As you will see, my thoughts were all over the place, and I couldn’t stay focused on one thing for a long time. 

“I didn’t do much today, I mostly just slept. I’ve been tired a lot lately. I kept waking up for different reasons throughout the day, but I forced myself back to sleep. I think I’m more sad than I’ve been for the past few months. I’m back to actively thinking about doing things. I’ve also been feeling really sick as well—it’s as if I’m having a bad reaction to life itself. It’s time for me to sleep, but I can’t. I’m talking to Jenny, and I’m grateful she’s willing to listen to me. She knows I’m struggling, so I’m glad she’s listening and helping me.

Sometimes, I’m not doing anything in particular and I feel the need to cry. Sometimes I think it’s because I’m too used to the sadness and don’t notice when I’m about to lose it, but my body knows and tries to give me hints. I’ve tried to start cleaning my room but fell ill in the middle of it and threw up in a plastic bag instead. I didn’t know what to do with the bag.

My thoughts are really jumbled up. I think I’m getting worse again. Jenny admitted she doesn’t understand what I’m going through, and I’m upset she can’t help but glad she’s being honest. Sometimes I have thoughts in my head that just keep repeating themselves and I can’t help it. It’s literally just a sentence/phrase that repeats over and over again. My counselor says it’s a part of my OCD but tonight it’s really bad. I know I’m the one thinking it, but it feels much more automatic than that—it doesn’t feel like I have a choice. 

I think there’s something wrong with me. I feel so separated from everything these days. The other day during my lunch period, I was in a classroom on the second floor and I just walked up to a window, opened it up all the way and just leaned over and stared at the bottom for a while. I think I was doing an experiment of sorts—a test. There were two parts: testing myself and testing others. I was testing myself to see what I would feel being in that position. I didn’t feel as nervous as I’d expected, which probably isn’t a good thing. The other part was a test for those around me in the classroom (a teacher and two small groups of students) to see if they would do anything or sense anything wrong… no one did anything. I think there’s something wrong with me for sure, but there’s also something wrong with others.”

During Medication (Current):

My reason for sharing these diary entries with you isn’t necessarily to give you insight into what it’s like being me and what thoughts I have going through my head on a constant basis. I want to show you the progression and regression I’ve gone through over these past few months as I’ve been taking medication. Meds were something that I’d always seen in the media, and they were usually romanticized. Because of that (and my parents’ personal thoughts on medication), there were so many things I wasn't prepared for when I started taking them. Sometimes, I feel confused about how I feel. It’s all a process, and I’m revealing my diary entries to help those who may be going on a similar journey so they can become aware of the challenges they will face in taking medication. Since the past entries weren’t exactly the most uplifting entries in my journal, the last one I share will be from a good day I’ve recently had. The medication has really helped—I’ve made new friends, spoken up more in class, laughed and smiled more, so I want to share that with you. 

“Today was a very good day! Lately, I’ve been talking to more people, and today Michael asked me to sit with him, so Jenny and I sat with him during physics. Since I’ve been continuously sitting with and talking to people, I think they are starting to think of me as their friend! I also had an IB assessment today. I think I did pretty well overall, but I forgot a few things when she asked me about Hamlet. I studied the poems really well though, so I’m confident that I didn’t do badly. I had a math test today as well, and even though I wasn’t at school for most of the week, I decided to take the test because after I looked it over, I realized that I was familiar with the material. I made a deal with my teacher that if I got an A on it, he would give me an A for all of the homework I missed during the week… I got 101%! I went to Smoothie King after school because there is a really cute guy who works there, so now I go there every Friday just to see him. I don’t really like any of the drinks on their menu so far, but to be honest I’ll drink whatever he makes for me. And he has a nose ring! I LOVE NOSE RINGS SO MUCH, OH MY GOSH!

I hung out with some people during free time in my film class and they seem really cool. I feel like I’m able to be more outgoing these days, which makes me happy because I have met some really great people by not shying away from conversation. The end of the third marking period is coming up soon, which means my senior year of high school is almost over. I’m both sad and excited for the future. I’m trying to think positively and realize that, even if I get rejected by some of the schools I’ve applied for, I’ve gotten into some really good colleges already—even abroad—so I shouldn’t be too upset. I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. I’m not completely sure about it but… based off of how I’ve been doing lately, I think I’ll be alright.”